With only a few hours to go until the end of 2015, we're taking a look back at 2015 in the life of The Fantasticast. On Monday, we covered January-March, on Tuesday we covered April-June, and yesterday we took a look at July-September. Today, we're focusing on October-December, which features a lot of Roy Thomas...
We started October, and Roy Thomas's tenure as Fantastic Four writer, looking back to the origins of the series, with Fantastic Four #126 - The Way It Began. This issue retold the origin of the team, with a few updates, to launch the next couple of issues worth of stories. To celebrate 100 episodes since he took over the podcast cover design, we invited Sam Savage back to help us look at this issue. We also had some fun playing an excerpt from the Power Records adaptation of this issue.
It didn't come as much of a surprise to us that, after recapping the origin, Roy Thomas chose to feature the Mole Man heavily in Fantastic Four #127 - Where The Sun Dares Not Shine. And not just the Mole Man - Tyrannus and Kala as well. Don't worry if you've not heard of Kala, she's obscure even by 1970s Marvel standards!
Fantastic Four #128 - Death In A Dark And Lonely Place was the subject of our landmark 150th episode. The cracks are beginning to show in the previously happy Richards marriage, thanks to Roy's insistence on writing Reed without any form of subtlety at all. There's also some underground shenanigans with more betrayal in one page than at a Stark wedding.
The furious Femizon from the future, Thundra, made her debut in Fantastic Four #129 - The Frightful Four Plus One, becoming the latest person to fill the fourth slot on the Frightful Four. Roy's mission to break the classic team apart continues, as marital strife becomes the first challenge the Fantastic Four can't overcome. Well, it's actually the next issue. Or the one after. It's become rather difficult to recall what happened in the issues we only read a couple of months ago...
Thundra and the Frightful Four battle their way to the heart of the FF in Fantastic Four #130 - Battleground: The Baxter Building. With the team seemingly broken apart and defeated, can the combined force of Franklin and Sue Richards save the day? What unthinkable consequences will their actions bring? And has Steve just nicked the copy text from the original post to beef up the word count for this episode?
Marvel Team-Up #6 - As Those Who Will Not See saw the Thing team up with Spider-Man to tackle both the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker. Rather unexpectedly, this issue revealed the origin of the Puppet Master and how he came to be Alicia's stepmother, in a sympathetic and engrossing flashback. Shame about the rest of the issue... Our cover artist Michael Georgiou returned to the show to investigate this comic.
One plot line that's been bubbling away for a few issues is Johnny wanting to reunite with Crystal, going so far as to invade the Great Refuge to get back with her. Fantastic Four #131 - Revolt In Paradise, drawn by fill-in artist Ross Andru, revealed that Crystal has been shacking up with Quicksilver, and is a member of a hierarchy that created a slave race and systematically oppressed them for thousands of years. Hard to work out which is worse...
The confused story of slavery in the Great Refuge concludes in Fantastic Four #132 - Omega The Ultimate Enemy, as does Roy Thomas's first run as FF writer. Relationship statuses change, creative teams change, costumes change, this issue is all about change. And, in one very brief moment, this issue is also about Black Bolt's Coffee Shop, but you'll have to listen to the episode to find out why.
One of our favourite issues of the year closed out November, as we looked at Fantastic Four #133 - Thundra At Dawn. With phenomenal guest art from DC legend Ramona Fradon, this wonderful one-shot issue sees Thundra call out Ben Grimm for a punch-up on New Year's Eve. The artwork is superb, and have I mentioned the great art? A highly-recommended issue of the Fantastic Four, and the first for new writer Gerry Conway.
Our year of covering the Fantastic Four closed with a two-part story that featured the return of Gregory Gideon as the villain. Yes, the return of Gideon. You remember him, right? Anyway, he returned in Fantastic Four #134 - A Dragon Stalks The Skies. We invited Resurrections: An Adam Warlock And Thanos Podcast host Al Sedano onto the show for this episode, which turned out to be rather fortuitous, as we also had to look at Jim Starlin's first issue of Captain Marvel, which also featured an early Thanos appearance. On top of this, we also looked at Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #9, where Cage went after Doctor Doom for a $200 bill.
Fantastic Four #135 - The Eternity Machine was our final Fantastic Four issue of the year. It also featured Gregory Gideon, which immediately biased us against it.
Finally, we closed out the year with Marvel Team-Up #10 - Time Bomb!, in which Spider-Man teamed up with the Human Torch to defeat time-travelling missiles launched by Kang The Conqueror and Zarrko The Tomorrow Man. Despite the run of Marvel Team-Up issues covered this year being rather low in quality, our enthusiasm for Marvel Two-In-One, arriving early in 2016, has not been dampened!
Well, that wraps up our look back at the year in podcasting. We'll be back tomorrow to launch 2016 with some huge news, and we can't wait for that!